PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It feels like offensive linemen have been getting love a lot more recently, but Jesuit was recognizing their O Line long before it was trendy to do so.
Over 15 years ago, Jesuit head coach Ken Potter picked up a paper one day. That’s when “The Franchise” was born.
“I was reading the paper, and somebody was listed as ‘The Franchise’, and it was one of the running backs for some school. I was looking at it like, ‘that running back is probably really good, but he’s not going to be very good if that offensive line isn’t really good.’ So, when I came the next day to practice, I said, ‘We’re going to have a franchise. The franchise is our offensive line,’” said Potter.
This year’s iteration of “The Franchise” features three returning starters, plus a fourth who started on the defensive line last year. It also features four seniors.
“They’re really fun to be around,” said junior left tackle Liam Cassidy. “It’s really fun to practice with them. They’re my best friends, so that’s a plus. They’re all just really great guys, and I love them. It’s a big honor to be their teammates.”
The group hopes that bond translates into imposing their will on opposing teams.
“The mentality is play fast, play hard, and no mercy,” said center Royce Cleland.
“We’re going to move you, even if you don’t want to be moved. We’re going to move you from point A to point B as much as possible. That’s what we’re going to do,” added Cassidy.
The Franchise was a part of a Jesuit team that nearly moved eventual undefeated state champion Central Catholic to the loss column last year, as the Rams only beat the Crusaders by seven points in the state semis.
Jesuit’s 28 points in that game were the most any team from Oregon scored on Central last season. The Saders think they can be even more dominant this season.
“It’s honestly going to be better than last year because we’re all gelled together. We’re stronger, we’re bigger, we’re faster, we’re more knowledgeable. That’s why I feel like this year, we’re going to have even more success than we did last year,” said Cleland.
That means their goal for this season is simple. Well, kind of.
“We just want to be the best in the state,” said right tackle Sylus Wallace.